What to Look For and Value in Friendships

Filed in Living by on February 9, 2017 2 Comments

We all have friends (I hope), but do we choose them wisely? They say we become a lot like the 4 or 5 people we spend the most time around, so if that is true, we should try to have virtuous, nice, and fun friends.

Since new friendships are always available, and old friendships can wane or go away as we grow and change, we ultimately have quite a bit of control over who is included in our inner circle.

Here are the 5 qualities I most value in my friendships, ranked in order of importance:

  1. Down to earth – There is nothing more essential to a deep and long-lasting friendship than the willingness to share of oneself, both the good and the bad. Best friends can share almost anything, and their bestie will accept them and not judge. I’m not saying you have to spill your guts every time you talk, but a willingness to share your innermost self and feelings is essential to a deep and permanent bond with a friend.
  2. Kind and generous – A big pet peeve of mine is people who are self-centered and concerned only with their own welfare. You can tell that they are with you only for what they might get from you, and are always angling for something. No thanks.
  3. Smart/well-read/well-traveled – What I mean by this is that it makes a friendship much more interesting if your friend has something intellectually stimulating to offer. They don’t have to be brilliant, or have traveled the world, but you will look forward to being with them a lot more if you are excited to hear what they have to say and their perspective on things. Unfortunately, some people are so narrow in their focus that they simply aren’t very interesting to be around.
  4. Reliable and loyal – This speaks for itself. It is not a very good friend who abuses your time by often being late or not showing up at all, or who talks about you behind your back. Again, I don’t need that.
  5. Sense of humor – I have had friends who are down to earth, kind, smart, reliable and loyal, but they’re just too damn serious all the time. Sometimes they want to spend our entire time together talking only about how much they hate their job or how their kids are driving them crazy, or any other manner of complaint, and they just can’t seem to lighten up. When I’m out to dinner with a friend or friends on a Saturday night, I want to relax and have at least a few laughs. It is fine to share pain and difficulties, as I said above, but there also needs to be some perspective and good humor to balance the interaction.

So, there you have it, a handy checklist you can use to winnow down your list of friends. If they don’t understand why you don’t want to see them any longer, just tell them Tim said they didn’t make the cut!

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

Comments (2)

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  1. Alise Ittner says:

    Well said Tim! As we get older, we spend more time with friends than our families so it’s important to surround ourselves with people that we can relate with!

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